Sorry men, the music year 2018 belongs to the women. At least when you look at this year’s line-up of Eurosonic Noorderslag. Probably the first festival of the year, the trendsetting happening in Groningen, Netherlands, offers a stage for more than 100 emerging bands from all over Europe. And surprisingly many artists were women.
Not only in numbers, but also in matters of quality Europen female artists don’t need to hide. We listened through the full Eurosonic line-up, and present to you some of the most exciting newcomers.
Although there are only a few isolated tracks available from Superorganism, the seven musicians located in London have been welcomed like stars at the festival. A mile-long queue in front of the club, no free square inch in front of the stage in the venue. The music of the British collective is as colorful as their choreographed videos and stage shows. It reminds in its queerness on the Flaming Lips, and in its electronic trash pop tunes on the 90’s band Bis (if you happen to know them). Their debut album will be released on March 2nd they say.
Alice Merton could very well be the next big pop star. With her powerful voice, and the catchy single ‘No Roots,’ she holds all the cards. While she already lived in four countries, the 24-year-old English/Canadian singer-songwriter is currently residing in Germany. This is also where her single reached platinum status and #2 in the singles charts. And someone who is stealing a riff from the White Stripes can’t be blamed for having a bad taste for sure.
Husky Loops is a post-punk band that is fast becoming London’s current most exciting prospect. The band’s punk and art-rock sound is where utopia meets dystopia; where discord meets melody; where pain meets beauty. That’s Husky Loops. Nothing you heard before, but still catchy in its own way.
LUWTEN is Dutch creative jack-of-many-trades Tessa Douwstra’s music conduit. Bittersweet melodies with almost a classical approach, but still some kind of (electronic) folk dive deep into your soul and heart. It’s like that sometimes much-needed stroll around the block to clear your mind. Through the songs on her sensational pop debut, Tessa Douwstra emboldens the shy person who musters the courage to do as they please and withdraw.
Here is a refreshing new artist from Bristol who sounds like a seasoned performer. Keir is blessed with a powerhouse of a voice, an excellent sense for writing hooks and infectious pop-rock songs, influenced by artists from Patti Smith, Gertrude Stein, Howlin’ Wolf, and Edith Piaf to Aretha Franklin. Also, Led Zeppelin and Robert Plant is not too far away. Keir tries to keep it somewhat secretive but material like the two singles Squeeze Me and Probably, and some rave live reviews will make it terribly hard to keep this huge talent from the spotlights.
Museless is an electronic breakout artist from Barcelona, Spain. In 2016 Laura Llopart released Grey Boy, a first EP that led Spanish music media to call her “the new electronic muse.” A year later she played the Pitchfork stage at Primavera Sound Festival, just two weeks after releasing her debut album Dichotomic History, an intense experimental affair that media qualified as one of the best electronic records of the year. More than 60 minutes of madness and a world so big you can’t understand how it can live inside Laura’s head.
Surma comes from Leiria, Portugal, with a dose of soothing trip-hop, ambient, and electronica, finely integrating post-rock and jazz influences. “Equipped with a childlike voice — think Joanna Newsom — Surma masters every instrument,” noted the Europavox festival about the musician that studied double bass at a jazz academy and learned to play a whole host of other instruments later on. Her 2017 album, intriguingly called Antwerpen, is a magical trip.
Zeal & Ardor
Most probably there’s not anything around you have heard lately that is this powerful, strange and still catchy. Manuel Gagneux is one of the musical revelations of 2017. Under the moniker of Zeal & Ardor, the Swiss-American artist created a highly unlikely and equally addictive blend of black metal, field recordings, Delta blues, gospel, spirituals and glitchy hip-hop beats. His debut album Devil Is Fine is a true must-hear, his live shows one of the must-experience shows.
Soulwax-protégée Charlotte Adigery from Belgium washes over you like a force of nature with a progressive mix of spiky electronics, pulsing drums, and an unstoppable voice. Joined live by Steve Slingeneyer (of Soulwax fame) on drums and Bolis Pupul (a DEEWEE label regular) on synths, WWWater anoints both your soul and feet. Sometimes soothing, sometimes boiling, but always refreshing. WWWater has elements of all of Adigery’s influences, ranging from The Slits to Ryoji Ikeda, Shabazz Palaces, Geneva Jacuzzi and Solange.